& vocabulary learning
The acquisition of vocabulary at first sight seems straightforward; we all know you need a large number of words to speak a language. That is to say, the role of vocabulary seems to have received people’s consistent understanding in foreign language learning. However, people are still uncertain about which vocabulary items should be taught and learned, in what order and how they can be taught and learned most effectively. Task 1:
Reflect on your experiences of vocabulary learning by answering the following questions:
1.What are the most common ways for Chinese students to learn vocabulary regarding English?
2.Similarly, what are the most common ways for Chinese teachers to teach English vocabulary, in primary school, secondary school and university?
3.What are some of the vocabulary learning strategies you have used and found useful or effective? What are some of the ways that you have used but found not very useful or effective?
Read the assumptions about vocabulary in
English learning on Page 117 and decide if you agree with them or not. Try to give your reasons for your decisions.
II) What does knowing a word involve? Vocabulary learning seems to accompany a learner throughout the learning process. Before developing some effective and efficient strategies of teaching and learning vocabulary it’s quite necessary for both teachers and learners to be aware of what knowing a word involves.
2.1 What does it mean to know a word?
A simple answer to this question would be: knowing a word means knowing its pronunciation, stress, spelling, meaning, grammatical properties and how and when to use it to express the intended meaning .
However, in reality with your further learning about a word, you will find both the form and the meanings are far more complicated than we think they are.
Therefore, learning a word involves learning more than just the word itself. McCarthy explains that ‘a word must consist of at least one potentially freestanding morpheme’ from the point of view of word-formation. It can be in the form of a single morpheme, more than one morpheme, compound words, phrasal verbs, as well as idioms and metaphors.
Besides, just knowing the form of a word does not mean you can necessarily know the meaning of it in context. According to Hedge (2000), vocabulary learning involves at least two aspects of meaning.
The first aspect involves the understanding of its denotative and connotative meaning . The second aspect involves understanding the sense relations among words.
Synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms
Receptive/passive and productive/active vocabulary
III) Ways of presenting vocabulary
Some useful suggestions can be helpful for a teacher in presenting vocabulary:
1) Try to provide a visual or physical demonstration whenever possible, using pictures, photos, video clips, mime or gestures to show meaning.
2) Provide a verbal context to demonstrate meaning.
Then ask students to tell the meaning first before it is offered by the teacher.
3) Use synonyms or antonyms to explain meaning. 4) Use lexical sets or hyponyms to show relations of words and their meanings, e.g. cook: fry, boil, bake, grill, etc.
5) Translate and exemplify, especially with technical words or words with abstract meaning. 6) Use word formation rules and common affixes to build new lexical knowledge on what is already known.
7) Teach vocabulary in chunks.
8) Think about the context in real life where the word might be used. Relate newly learned language to students’ real life to promote high motivation. 9) Think about providing different context for introducing new words.
10) Prepare for possible misunderstanding or confusion that students may have.
Compare the two kinds of ways of presenting the new word “grumble” employed by two teachers.
Which way do you think is more effective?